GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 27 APRIL 2018
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ICAO and UNDP solar-at-gate airport pilot project launched at Jamaica’s Norman Manley International
Thu 26 Apr 2018 – A collaborative initiative involving ICAO and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has been launched at Jamaica’s Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston that will provide renewable power to aircraft gate facilities. The project, with a further facility on the Caribbean island to be added, involves the installation of gate electrification equipment, along with a solar power generation facility. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of a parking lot and the energy generated covers the full power requirement for aircraft operations at one gate. Funding for the project has come from the Global Environment Facility and the intention is to replicate it globally, at a larger scale and in particular to airports in all Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It would bring both environmental benefits and help the economic sustainability of such airports because of the high cost of energy in their operations, says ICAO.
The new solar-at-gate facility being installed aims to replace the use of jet fuel-powered aircraft auxiliary power units and diesel-fuelled ground power units to eliminate CO2 emissions. With 324 individual solar panels and four inverters installed, a total capacity of 100kW DC power will be available, with CO2 savings the equivalent of removing 113 cars from the roads for a year or the annual carbon sequestration of 252 hectares of forests.
Learning the lessons from the destruction of solar facilities by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the airport solar project is the first to be designed in the Caribbean to revised category V standards. Rigorous assessments were made to ensure the facility met safety requirements and the glare from the solar panels did not affect the air traffic control tower or pilots on approach.
The inauguration ceremony on Tuesday was attended by 75 officials from the Caribbean region, representing civil aviation authorities, airport authorities, policy makers, international organisations, renewable energy developers and other national aviation stakeholders. It was organised by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) and the Airports Authority of Jamaica in collaboration with ICAO’s North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) office in Mexico City.
“The importance of this flagship project for the aviation sector in Jamaica, and for other SIDS in the Caribbean, is hard to overestimate,” announced JCAA Deputy Director General Rohan Campbell.
Added Jane Hupe, ICAO Deputy Director, Environment: “For some SIDS airports, energy can constitute a major operational cost. The use of sustainable energy sources therefore helps them to take a significant and very positive step toward greater economic and environmental sustainability. ICAO started this journey at the request of our Member States in 2010, and it’s our hope that other SIDS in the region and around the globe will follow this example and replicate similar projects.”
The launch was followed by a two-day capacity building seminar supporting solar-at-gate and other low-emission aviation initiatives, and to help provide assistance to other SIDs to pursue similar renewable energy projects.
Global Environment Facility funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreement. Support is provided to government agencies, civil society organisations, private sector companies, research institutions and other partners to implement projects and programmes in recipient countries. The GEF Trust Fund was established just prior to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, is administered by the World Bank and funding comes from 39 donor countries. Financial contributions are replenished every four years and for the current 2014-18 cycle (GEF-6) the fund stands at $4.43 billion dollars.
Air Canada, Red Rock and SkyNRG move forward on biofuel initiatives while Air New Zealand takes longer view
Thu 26 Apr 2018 – As part of a Canadian biofuel demonstration project, Air Canada has blended 230,000 litres of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into Toronto-Pearson Airport’s multi-user, co-mingled airport fuel supply system. Carbon savings from the fuel were accredited to Air Canada domestic flights from Toronto that took place last Sunday, Earth Day. In other aviation biofuel news, Colorado-based Red Rock Biofuels has finally received the green light to construct a renewable energy biofuels plant in Oregon. The company has offtake agreements in place with FedEx and Southwest Airlines. Meanwhile, SkyNRG has announced it is to collaborate with Global Bioenergies on ASTM certification of an isobutene feedstock and conversion process for the production of sustainable aviation fuel. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon has said large-scale commercialisation of SAF is a decade away after a search for suitable biofuel partners had so far proved elusive.
Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) is a three-year project between 14 stakeholder organisations, including Air Canada, which are working to enable a biojet supply chain in the country, with testing the feasibility of co-mingling biojet with an airport’s main fuel system an important component. Primary funding for the project, apart from the purchase of the biofuel for the Toronto-Pearson initiative, has come from the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), a non-profit organisation funded by the Canadian aerospace industry and Canada’s federal Network of Centres of Excellence.
“Air Canada is proud of its leading role in this biofuel project, the first of its kind in Canada, which will advance the use of low-carbon renewable fuels in Canada by demonstrating they can be used in shared fuel systems at airports,” said the airline’s Chief Executive, Calin Rovinescu. “Our participation is one way Air Canada is reducing its footprint and also helping our entire industry improve its environmental performance.”
Construction of the much-delayed Red Rock biorefinery in Lakeview, Oregon is expected to take around 18 months to complete, with operations slated to begin in 2020. The facility will process waste woody biomass using Red Rock’s scaled-down Fischer Tropsch technology that enables conversion of smaller feedstock volumes to ultra-low carbon, renewable jet and diesel fuels. It aims to convert 136,000 tons of biomass into 15.1 million gallons of renewable fuels per year. Using locally-sourced forest and sawmill residues not only avoids competition for agricultural resources but also reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfires by removing waste biomass from overgrown forests, says Red Rock.
FedEx has contracted with Red Rock to supply three million gallons of biofuel a year for its planes based at the FedEx Express Oakland hub in California (see article). Southwest Airlines has agreed to purchase a similar quantity of fuel.
French company Global Bioenergies (GBE) is developing a process converting renewable resources such as forestry or agricultural wastes into isobutene – one of the main petroleum derivatives – and first batches of isobutene-based SAF have been produced at its demo plant in Leuna, Germany. The batches are said by the company to be mainly composed of C12 iso-paraffins – the same molecules as those found in conventional jet fuel – with good ‘cold-flow’ properties, high octane and an energy content in the jet fuel range.
They have been sent to market-leading aviation biofuel supplier SkyNRG for preliminary analysis in preparation for Tier 1 of the four-stage ASTM evaluation process. Tier 1 tests consist of the analysis of physical and chemical properties of the fuel, such as composition, volatility, fluidity (freezing point and viscosity), net heat of combustion, corrosion and thermal stability.
“We’re excited to work together with GBE towards the commercialisation of this new production pathway for sustainable aviation fuel,” said Misha Valk, Head of Business Development at SkyNRG. “It has the potential to be scalable and cost effective, without sacrificing performance.”
Marc Delcourt, GBE’s Chief Executive, said: “Jet fuel is the fastest developing segment in oil products, growing at a pace of 4-5% per year. After having just shown the reality of renewable gasoline in a first car on the road event with our partner Audi, we will soon show that our sustainable aviation fuel has a unique potential to decarbonise the skies.”
Air New Zealand, one of the early pioneers in using aviation biofuels when it operated a test flight in January 2009 using fuel sourced from jatropha, appears to have shelved plans to develop a national sustainable aviation fuel supply chain. Joining forces with Virgin Australia, the airlines put out a search for interested parties and last year they announced strong interest with more than 30 responses from organisations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and the United States (see article).
However, in an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon said the airline had wanted to buy 20 million litres of SAF by 2020 but no-one had been in a position to offer biofuels on that scale and by that time. “They’re a real solution to solving our carbon problem but it isn’t going to kick in for another decade from now. That’s why we are going to focus on offsetting.” He said the airline had been making efforts to encourage passengers to offset their emissions before paying for their flight and had seen an increase in the number participating.
IMO steals a march on ICAO by agreeing a long-term strategy to reduce the shipping sector’s international GHG emissions
Tue 24 Apr 2018 – Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the sister UN agency of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), have adopted an initial strategy on the long-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. Reaching a global consensus on climate action has proved as contentious for IMO as it has for ICAO since the two agencies were handed the responsibility for limiting or reducing international GHG emissions from their respective sectors in the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997. A dispute between countries on the level of ambition in reducing emissions was resolved at a meeting of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) in London attended by over 100 countries. The strategy aims to reduce annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 and pursue efforts towards phasing them out entirely. Some believe this now moves IMO ahead of ICAO on a path to fulfil the global climate ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
Both agencies have struggled since Kyoto’s Article 2.2 to achieve a consensus among their member states and reconcile their non-discrimination guiding principle with the UN climate principle of common but differentiated responsibilities by which developed nations are expected to take a bigger share of the burden to reduce GHG emissions. The successor climate treaty adopted in 2015, the Paris Agreement, makes no mention at all of the two sectors, a sign of the difficulties countries encountered in finding a common position.
The first action taken by ICAO states to limit the growth of emissions from international aviation was to agree at their Assembly in 2010 (Resolution A37-19, para 4) to set a global annual average fuel efficiency improvement of the civil aviation sector by an average 2% per year until 2020 and a similar aspirational goal from 2021 to 2050. The resolution qualifies this by noting the goals should take into account the different circumstances, respective capabilities and contribution of developed and developing States to determine how each should voluntarily contribute to the goal.
However, subsequent ICAO climate change Assembly resolutions have noted in their preamble that this “is unlikely to deliver the level of reduction necessary to stabilize and then reduce aviation’s absolute emissions contribution to climate change, and that goals of more ambition will need to be considered to deliver a sustainable path for aviation.”
This contrasts with a more ambitious approach taken previously in 2008 by the aviation industry itself, which set short, medium and long term targets that included improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020 (the 0.5% gap with ICAO’s 2.0% is seen as the responsibility of governments, such as air traffic control improvements); stabilising emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth; and an aspirational goal to reduce net emissions from aviation by 50% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
In February 2016, ICAO’s environmental protection committee CAEP – which does not meet in open session, unlike IMO’s MEPC – agreed a binding CO2 emissions standard for new aircraft that was formally adopted by the governing 36-State governing Council a year later. The standard will apply to new aircraft type designs from 2020 and to aircraft type designs already in-production as of 2023. Those in-production aircraft which by 2028 do not meet the standard will no longer be able to be produced unless their designs are sufficiently modified.
Due to its complexity and the unknown market-driven responses to the regulation, the contribution of the standard to reducing CO2 emissions from international aviation is so far unclear, although Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said the standard “guaranteed reductions.” An analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) showed the standard will on average require a 4% reduction in the cruise fuel consumption of new aircraft starting in 2028 compared to 2015 deliveries, with actual reductions ranging from 0 to 11%, depending on the maximum take-off mass of the aircraft.
By contrast, IMO adopted two mandatory measures in 2011 to improve the efficiency of ships through an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which entered into force in January 2013, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP). The EEDI requires a minimum energy efficiency level per capacity mile for different ship type and size segments, and new ship designs need to meet the reference level for their ship type. The CO2 reduction level (grams of CO2 per tonne mile) is set to 10% in the first phase and to be tightened every five years, which, says IMO, “is expected to stimulate continued innovation and technical development of all the components influencing the fuel efficiency of a ship from its design phase.” The SEEMP is an operational measure that establishes a mechanism to improve the energy efficiency of a ship “in a cost-effective manner.” It also provides an approach for shipping companies to manage ship and fleet efficiency performance over time using, for example, IMO’s Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) as a monitoring tool.
IMO says the measures will lead to significant emission reductions, with up to 200 million tonnes of annual CO2 reductions expected by 2020 from the introduction of the EEDI for new ships and the SEEMP for all ships in operation, with an increase to 420 million tonnes annually by 2030. This represents a reduction of between 10 and 17% in 2020, and between 19 and 26% by 2030, compared with business as usual.
However, an ICCT study released in January 2017 found that although the CO2 intensity of many major ship classes decreased, i.e. they became more efficient, total CO2 emissions from ships increased between 2013 and 2015 as distances travelled grew due to greater demand. “The disconnect between CO2 intensity and total emissions suggests that business as usual improvements in energy efficiency are unlikely to yield substantial reductions in CO2 emissions from ships,” warned the report.
The IMO decision in 2011 had nevertheless been greeted warmly by the then UN Secretary-General and UNFCCC Executive Director as an important outcome and a substantial contribution of the international shipping sector in addressing climate change.
No less heralded was the successful adoption of a global market-based measure, after many years of disagreement, by States at the ICAO Assembly in late 2016 to implement the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) from 2020. Not only was this the first global commitment on climate change for an entire industrial sector but all States now have a responsibility for administering and overseeing the scheme, whereas accountability for achieving ICAO’s fuel efficiency improvements and reaching the aircraft CO2 emissions standard falls largely on industry.
According to a number of environmental NGOs that lobby both the shipping and aviation sectors, the new agreement by IMO’s MEPC could be argued to have leapfrogged ICAO in terms of ambition level, principally because it sets a long-term vision to reduce international shipping emissions for the period up to 2050. CORSIA, on the other hand, is a medium-term initiative designed to end in 2035 and despite the word “reduction” in its name, the scheme is intended to neutralise the growth of emissions from the sector rather than reduce them. However, ICAO and industry are keen to emphasise that it is one of a number of measures in place to tackle the issue.
With all efforts having gone into developing and implementing the CORSIA medium-term goal, ICAO has yet to focus seriously on a long-term 2050 target. The only sign that ICAO is working on a plan is a mention in Assembly Resolution A39-2 (para 9) that “Requests the Council to continue to explore the feasibility of a long term global aspirational goal for international aviation, through conducting detailed studies assessing the attainability and impacts of any goals proposed, including the impact on growth as well as costs in all countries, especially developing countries, for the progress of the work to be presented to the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly [in 2019]. Assessment of long term goals should include information from member States on their experiences working towards the medium term goal.”
There are some, including in industry, who recognise that mapping out a route to achieving a 50% reduction target by 2050 cannot wait until CORSIA is well underway.
The ‘Initial GHG Strategy’ adopted by IMO’s MEPC – after much wrangling between States on levels of ambition – says emissions from international shipping should peak as soon as possible and should reduce by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, “while at the same time pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.” It includes a specific reference to “a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.”
The strategy also envisions at least a 40% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030, while pursuing efforts towards a 70% reduction by 2050, both compared to 2008 levels. It also includes a review of new phases of the EEDI.
As well as setting out a future vision and levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions, the strategy includes guiding principles and candidate short, medium and long term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States. It also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development.
Mid-term candidate measures (2023-2030) include an alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels implementation programme that would lead to the long-term (2030+) development and provision of zero-carbon or fossil-free fuels. The mid-term strategy also includes further operational efficiency measures and, significantly in the ICAO context, consideration of market-based measures (MBMs).
MBMs have been considered in-depth by MEPC since 2006 and in 2009 it was agreed overwhelmingly that a MBM was needed as part of a comprehensive package of measures for effectively regulating GHG emissions from international shipping. In 2010, 10 different MBMs were proposed by States and observer organisations. Despite the formation of expert and working groups, studies and impact assessments, little progress has been made since then and no consensus reached.
“IMO did a lot of work on potential MBMs around 2011 but that discussion was shut down after IMO agreed to the Energy Efficiency Design Index,” said Dan Rutherford, Program Director for Marine and Aviation at ICCT, who attended the MEPC 72 meeting and has since published an analysis of the MEPC resolution. “Very little was said at the meeting about what type of MBM might be applied since those are indicated for potential mid-term decisions taking effect sometime between 2023 and 2030. But it's safe to say that most IMO stakeholders are against offsetting in general. CORSIA is often referenced as the type of approach that IMO shouldn’t take.
“IMO’s strategy will require the proverbial policy kitchen sink – tighter design and operational efficiency standards in the near-term; low and zero carbon fuels and propulsion concepts in the longer-term; and legitimate carbon pricing in between – to meet the implied 60 to 70% reductions in GHG emissions this century. There’s no indication at this point that offsetting will be part of the mix.”
According to IMO’s last study of GHG emissions published in 2014, international shipping emitted 796 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012, accounting for around 2.2% of global total CO2 emissions. This is down from a peak in 2008 (the base year for the long-term goals) of 921 million tonnes that represented a 2.9% share of the global total.
ICAO does not issue similar statistics but a CAEP study estimated CO2 emissions from international aviation in 2010 at 448 million tonnes, or around 1.3% of the global total. Forecasts suggest this could rise to between 682 and 755 million tonnes by 2020. CAEP analysis published in the ICAO Environmental Report 2016 (page 17) suggests that even with a contribution from technology improvements and improved air traffic management and infrastructure use, there could be an additional 1,039 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2050 without a significant replacement of fossil jet fuel with alternative fuels.
IMO mid-range forecasted scenarios suggest that by 2050, CO2 emissions from international shipping could grow by between 50% and 250%, depending on future economic growth and energy developments.
Commenting on IMO’s new commitment to a long-term CO2 reduction strategy, a statement by Kelsey Perlman of Carbon Market Watch on behalf of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, which represents NGOs at ICAO, most of which cover both aviation and shipping sectors, said: “The outcome puts international shipping ahead of aviation – short of the type of ambition required by the Paris Agreement but with a clear, long-term commitment to decarbonise in-sector and peak emissions as soon as possible.
“This decision should light a fire under ICAO, which has been dragging its feet for over a decade on a vision for long-term decarbonisation, arriving only at the mid-term emissions target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 levels. The agreement on shipping emissions should make people question whether aviation’s emissions should be allowed to grow with no concrete plan to decarbonise.”
Private jet charter company Victor teams with Air BP to launch carbon offset programme for aircraft operators
Mon 16 Apr 2018 – Fast-growing private jet charter business Victor, in collaboration with Air BP and BP Target Neutral, has opened its carbon offset programme to operators and customers following a trial phase. Over half of Victor and Air BP’s 20 biggest operator customers have already signed up to the initiative, which is expanding during this year to a fully-fledged programme, with Austria’s GlobeAir among the early adopters. Over three-quarters of Victor’s customers opted into the scheme have received quotes for flights where carbon emissions for the fuel used will be offset through projects in BP Target Neutral’s global portfolio. The partners say it is an early opportunity for aircraft operators to take action on emissions with CORSIA deadlines on the horizon. Victor is also aiming to use carbon-neutral fuel for all flights by 2020.
Part of the Alyssum Group, Victor is an on-demand jet charter platform in which members can swiftly check pricing options and aircraft specifics before booking flights. It has raised $38 million in Series B funding over the past six months and is currently ranked 113th in the FT 1000 list of Europe’s fastest growing companies.
Having a flight’s emissions offset is conditional on participating operators using Air BP fuel for Victor bookings wherever feasible, says the company, and the programme will initially operate in the UK and Europe. Eligible flights are flagged on Victor’s digital marketplace and flyers will have a record of carbon credits added to a digital log that customers can access on a quarterly basis.
The credits, which will be at no extra cost to Victor customers, will be invested in eight global BP Target Neutral carbon reduction projects. The portfolio ranges from hydropower plants in China to biogas initiatives in India and a REDD+ project in Zambia. All projects are selected by an independent forum and independently monitored and verified in line with the ICROA (International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance) Code of Best Practice. The projects are also chosen based on their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, so as well as reducing carbon, are expected to improve livelihoods for the communities they are based in through various educative, economic and social benefits.
Non-profit BP Target Neutral is managed by BP, which also covers its operating costs. Its work is overseen by an independent advisory and assurance panel of prominent environmental and industry experts to ensure activities conform to carbon management best practice.
“Victor continues to set an agenda for positive change across the private aviation industry,” commented Mike Ryan, the company’s Co-Founder and Head of Supply. “This programme, in collaboration with Air BP and BP Target Neutral, offers an instant opportunity for operators to advance their carbon reduction plans ahead of several crucial industry deadlines, whilst further validating the role of private aviation to the customer as a driver for global economic, social and cultural development. This is an important stepping stone in the journey towards a truly low carbon future.”
Added Irene Lores, General Aviation Sales and Marketing Director for Air BP: “At BP, we are striving to help the world address the dual challenge of meeting its need for more energy, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions. By collaborating with Victor in this new offset programme we are also supporting our operator customer base in the transition to a lower carbon future.”
Link: Victor carbon offset programme
ASTM approval of ethanol-based renewable jet fuels provides a green light for LanzaTech and Byogy
Fri 13 Apr 2018 – Global standards body ASTM International has completed its revision of alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel specifications that will enable jet fuel to be produced from ethanol, so paving the way for renewable jet fuel from technology companies LanzaTech and Byogy to be used on commercial flights. Under ASTM’s ballot procedure, various technical committees have agreed to add ethanol as an approved feedstock in ASTM D7566 Annex A5, the standard specification for aviation turbine fuel containing synthesised hydrocarbons for ATJ synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK). Isobutanol-derived jet fuel was the first ATJ-SPK to be specified under Annex A5 two years ago, which allowed Gevo’s renewable jet fuel product to be used in commercial airline operations in blends permitted up to 30%. The latest revision to the annex also lifts the blend ratio limit for ATJ-SPK fuels to 50%.
Although technically the eligibility was final as of April 1, the revision formally comes into effect when it is published on the ASTM International website in the coming months.
LanzaTech, which has been supported in the process by launch partner Virgin Atlantic Airways, says its ethanol-based ATJ-SPK product will be eligible for use as a blending component with standard Jet A/Jet A1 for commercial airline use in the United States and in most countries around the globe. The Chicago-headquartered company says it is now preparing a design and engineering package for an ATJ production facility implementing the technology originally developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and scaled up by LanzaTech, the ethanol-based ATJ-SPK pathway now accepted under ASTM D7566.
The design will be for a facility than can produce 3 million gallons per year of ATJ blendstock and diesel using sustainable ethanol feedstocks from LanzaTech’s gas fermentation process, which uses feedstocks such as industrial off gas; biomass wastes and residues; and unsorted, unrecyclable municipal solid waste. Because ethanol-based ATJ-SPK can use ethanol produced from any feedstock and using any conversion technology, its inclusion in Annex A5 means sustainable aviation fuel can be produced anywhere in the world from available environmentally, economically and socially sustainable feedstocks in each region, claims the company.
“The key here is scale,” said LanzaTech CEO Dr Jennifer Holmgren. “Ethanol can be made from large volumes of locally available, low cost, low carbon feedstocks. This makes the inclusion hugely significant in supporting the aviation sector’s decarbonisation targets. Where there’s a lot of sustainable ethanol, there is now the potential for a lot of low carbon jet fuel.”
The global network of ethanol production and distribution is well established, as is the downstream petroleum infrastructure delivering jet fuel, and the new ASTM specification will allow these two global supply chains to connect so as to produce significant volumes of renewable jet fuel, and in places where it could not be produced before, points out Byogy Renewables.
“It’s one thing to have a great commodity product but without an operative supply chain, it’s difficult to sell,” said CEO Kevin Weiss. “We now have the ability to supplement and leverage the existing downstream petroleum industry with a well-distributed ATJ sustainable aviation fuel that can be produced anywhere by building on the existing global ethanol supply chain.”
The California-based company maintains its ATJ product can be used as a 100% drop-in fuel by airlines but it will commercialise using the new 50% specification and “in parallel continue to advance the ASTM process to develop a full replacement specification.”
Byogy first teamed with Brazilian airline Avianca in 2013 for flight testing and data acquisition of its fuel to support the ASTM ATJ specification adoption process (see article).
Commenting on the ASTM revision, Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, the trade body for the US ethanol industry, said: “We now may have a viable means whereby ethanol can play a significant role in support of decarbonising the aviation sector. It is exciting to have yet another market opportunity for ethanol.”
Canadian green aerospace R&D collaboration GARDN joins biofuels sustainability standards body RSB
Wed 11 Apr 2018 – Canada’s Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), a non-profit organisation that brings together government, academia and the aerospace industry to develop technologies and processes to lessen the sector’s environmental impact, has joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). GARDN is a part of the Canadian government’s ‘Business-Led Networks of Centers of Excellence’ programme and has a number of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects in place. It says membership of RSB, with its best-in-class sustainability standard, is “an ideal fit” in tackling the challenges of developing biofuel supply chains.
“There’s no doubt today that the use of biofuels is essential to achieve the environmental goals of the aviation sector,” said GARDN’s Executive Director, Sylvain Cofsky. “Nonetheless, we need to ensure that the biofuels suggested are thoroughly compliant with the sustainable development framework. This is the main stake of the collaboration with RSB.”
RSB said its framework fosters collaboration across a broad range of stakeholders and can provide the networks, guidance and platform to help support GARDN.
Added Rolf Hogan, Executive Director of RSB: “We believe the RSB will benefit greatly from GARDN’s experience in leading collaborative industrial R&D projects which include all parts of the sustainable aviation fuel value chain.”
One GARDN project is assessing the potential of producing SAF from Canada’s considerable forest residue resources with partners that include Boeing, Bombardier, WestJet and SkyNRG. Another, ‘Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative’, aims to catalyse the development of a domestic HEFA-derived biojet sector and demonstrate the operational feasibility of co-mingling SAF in the domestic jet fuel supply system at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. Partners include Waterfall Group, Boeing, Air Canada, SkyNRG, CAAFI, IATA, government agencies and academia.
Swedish airline passengers to pay up to $47 more as a result of new green tax on flights
Apr 2018 – As of April 1, a new eco tax on air travel has come into force in Sweden that will add 60 kronor ($7) to the cost of domestic flights and flights within the EU, while flights to countries outside the EU but not travelling further than 6,000kms will cost 250 kronor ($29) more. Passengers on long-haul flights of more than 6,000kms will pay an additional 400 kronor ($47) on their tickets. Brought in by the minority Green Party in the coalition Swedish government, the tax has been opposed by other political parties and sharply criticised by airlines. However, a poll last month in a Swedish newspaper showed a small majority (53%) of the respondents supported the tax compared to 44% when the same poll was carried out a year ago. The government said it was unfair for the most environmentally damaging method of transport to escape such a tax.
“The objective of the tax is to minimise the carbon footprint of flights following a sharp increase in air travel,” Sweden’s climate minister and Greens spokesperson Isabella Lövin wrote in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
The tax will not apply to babies, flight crews, passengers stopping without changing planes and, in certain circumstances, transit passengers.
American Carbon Registry honours Airlines for America with environmental award for its ICAO CORSIA role
Apr 2018 – Trade association Airlines for America (A4A) has been presented with the annual ‘Commitment to Quality’ environmental achievement award by the American Carbon Registry (ACR) for “helping to shape the ICAO GHG emissions reduction programme and offsetting mechanism for airlines in a way that ensures quality, rigour and transparency.” The non-profit enterprise of Winrock International, ACR oversees the registration and verification of carbon offset projects in both the voluntary carbon market and California’s regulated carbon market, as well as operating an electronic registry system. Announcing the award, ACR lauded A4A’s critical role in supporting the ICAO agreement on the CORSIA carbon offset scheme for international aviation and the development of its implementing provisions.
“While the US airlines have dramatically improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions by investing billions in fuel-saving aircraft and engines, innovative technologies like winglets and an array of operational and infrastructure measures, we are strong supporters of the ICAO CORSIA to complement these measures to achieve aviation’s internationally-agreed emissions goals,” stated Nancy Young, VP Environmental Affairs at A4A. “We are proud to work with governments, carbon market experts like ACR and the environmental NGO community to ensure CORSIA is implemented in an environmentally rigorous and practicable way.”
ACR’s ‘Innovation’ award went to the GreenTrees reforestation project, a one-million-acre conservation initiative that aims to plant over 500 million new trees for ecosystem repair and climate impact in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, North America’s largest rainforest and waterfowl migratory corridor. It has generated over 2.5 million tonnes of verified carbon offsets for partners that include United Airlines and Skyway Air Taxi.
NEW PUBLICATION: Beyond the ICAO’s CORSIA: Towards a More Climatically Effective Strategy for Mitigation of Civil-Aviation Emissions
April 2018 – In a research article published in the journal Climate Law, air transport economist Chris Lyle examines ICAO’s role in addressing international aviation’s growing emissions since referral by the UNFCCC to the UN agency through the Kyoto Protocol. He examines the ‘basket of measures’ developed by ICAO to mitigate emissions through to the adoption of a framework for a market-based measure that aims at carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onward. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is to be the primary emission-mitigation tool for international aviation. However, even with an increased use of alternative fuels and CORSIA implementation, the ‘basket’ will not produce a reduction in global aviation emissions, he argues, and proposes a derivative but more ambitious strategy.
This would include incorporation of international aviation emissions in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of parties to the Paris Agreement and a more direct role for the UNFCCC in determining eligibility of emission units and alternative fuels, with ICAO remaining accountable for monitoring, reporting and verification.
Publication: Climate Law, Volume 8, Issue 1-2
ISSN: 1878-6553, E-ISSN: 1878-6561
To access the article, click here